Due to declining enrollment, Kaplan University said Wednesday it is laying off 200 admissions workers, primarily in its Fort Lauderdale, Plantation and Boca Raton offices. Kaplan has been downsizing as it struggles with fallen enrollment and investigations into its sales tactics.
“We’ve taken the necessary steps to reduce our workforce … to stabilize after a period of decline,” said Stephen White, spokesman. He said the layoffs are about 2 percent of Kaplan’s total employment nationwide.
No faculty members are affected by the layoff, he said. Kaplan has not yet posted a notice warning the state of the layoff.
The Iowa-based university, a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co., has seen its enrollment decline from about 62,000 in 2011 to 49,000 as of March 31. Kaplan reported a first quarter loss of $13.2 million, compared to income of $20 million in the first quarter of 2011.
Kaplan has been undergoing a series of layoffs following the federal government push to end high-pressure and misleading sales tactics at for-profit universities enrolling students.
The company has said it is complying with Department of Education regulations and state and federal laws.
Florida’s Attorney General has ongoing investigations into allegations of misrepresentations by admissions staff at Kaplan and seven other for-profit schools: the University of Phoenix, Argosy University, MedVance Institute, Everest University, Concorde Career Colleges, Sanford Brown College and Keiser University, which is now non-profit.
Kaplan hired more than 2,800 employees in Florida in 2009; almost 1,000 of those were in Broward. But soon after, the company began launching a series of layoffs.
Another Kaplan Higher Education subsidiary, Kaplan College, said in February that it was in the process of closing its Pembroke Pines campus, the only physical college to open in South Florida.
During 2011, Kaplan and its subsidiaries laid off about 400 workers in South Florida.
In August 2010, the federal Government Accountability Office released a scathing report about the admissions practices at 15 for-profit schools, including Kaplan’s Pembroke Pines campus.
Kaplan University’s parent company, Kaplan Higher Education, which has a large operation in Fort Lauderdale, agreed last year to pay $1.6 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit involving the Kaplan-owned CHI Institute in Broomall, Penn.
The Pennsylvania lawsuit was filed in 2007 by David Goodstein, the former director of education at the Broomall campus who alleged that CHI made false representations to students. Kaplan enrolled new students in the program, despite an inability to place them in surgical settings, the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit led to a program review by the U.S. Department of Education.
Other for-profit universities also have had layoffs in recent years.
The University of Phoenix, which has locations in Plantation, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Gardens, laid off 700 employees last fall and reported in late June its new student enrollment had dropped 40 percent from a year ago. Officials attributed that decrease to changes in admissions practices.